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Gardeners' holiday wish lists often include soil, catalogs and free labor By Sharon Dowdy

The holidays are just around the corner and shoppers are beginning to search for those perfect gifts. If home gardeners are on the list, consider these ideas from University of Georgia Cooperative Extension experts.

UGA Extension county agents and horticulture specialists spend their workdays teaching home and professional gardeners the latest research-based information. In their off time, many of these experts love to dig in the soil in their own home gardens and landscapes.

When asked what they’d like to find under their Christmas trees this year, here’s what they said:

Stephen Pettis, the UGA Extension Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) agent in Rockdale County, Georgia, has a long wish list that includes a gift card to Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a pair of garden gloves, safety sunglasses, a sun hat, a bonsai pot and “a nice, big flower pot for the front porch.”

He also has several tools on his wish list. He wants a telescoping pole pruner – without a saw, just the lopper on a pole – Gerber multi-tool pruners, a Japanese gardening knife, a bulb auger that attaches to a cordless drill, a garden cart or wagon and a two-wheeled wheelbarrow.

“I think a valuable tool would also be a good Adirondack chair for resting after the workday is done,” Pettis said.

Trey Gafnea, ANR agent in Jasper County, Georgia, hopes to find a gas-powered tiller, a push broadcast spreader, work gloves and pruners, with both short hand grips and long hand grips, under his holiday tree. He also wants some traditional hand tools, like a round-pointed shovel, a steel rake and a hoe.

Apparently, pruning shears are in high demand. Wade Hutcheson, ANR agent in Spalding County, Georgia, also wants a pair. He prefers the FELCO brand, but said there are several good brands available.

He also wants a spading fork, a gift certificate for a tree to put in his landscape and a big load (500 or 1,000 pounds) of soil amendment or compost.

Hutcheson has been gardening at home and at work for decades, but he recommends giving a copy of Walter Reeves’ “Guide to Georgia Vegetable Gardening” for new vegetable gardeners.

Hutcheson’s ultimate gift would be one free tree removal by a professional tree service or a coupon good for four to eight hours of free labor.

Brenda Jackson, ANR agent in Murray County, Georgia, has a unique request. “My ideal Christmas gift would be for my husband to pull weeds while I ride around on the mower for a change,” she said.

UGA Extension Community Garden Coordinator Becky Griffin wants a “load of really good compost,” a pair of pruners and a container for gathering her vegetables.

Sam Ingram, ANR agent in Effingham County, Georgia, wants a gift that will make his gardening tasks easier. “I want an extender to pick up pine cones and such. It will really save my back,” he said.

After spending her days working outside in the soil, Fayette County, Georgia, ANR Agent Kim Toal wants a few indoor plants to enjoy. She prefers orchids.

Take a tip from these UGA Extension gardeners when selecting a holiday gift for the gardener, and maybe the gardener will share a little of their harvest in return.

(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

smaller plow
smaller plow

A small tiller may be the perfect gift for the garden on your holiday list. Gardeners can always use good quality tools or a truckload of rich compost.

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A small tiller may be the perfect gift for the garden on your holiday list. Gardeners can always use good quality tools or a truckload of rich compost. Download Image
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